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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

St. Patrick’s Spirit Flows Into Southie


Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor making an energetic appearance in Southie.

Since 1901, the city of Boston has observed St. Patrick’s day with an annual parade that celebrates Irish culture. On Sunday, March 17, a wind chill didn’t stop thousands from flocking to South Boston to repeat this tradition, with many of them claiming spots and setting up chairs with blankets. At 1 p.m., the parade kicked off with a lead from Boston Fire officials and Boston Police Department (BPD) officers. The firefighters cruised by on fire engines while BPD were on multiple motorcycles. Marching bands with bagpipers, costume wearers, and stilt walkers paraded from Broadway T station to Dorchester Avenue; most marchers were sporting traditional Gaelic clothing.

Governor Charlie Baker and several other prominent figures made appearances as they joined in the festivities. Mayor Marty Walsh was seen interacting with many people and families along the crowded streets. Among the many notable presences was Conor McGregor, an Ireland native and world-renowned UFC fighter.  “He was in the city [Saturday, the 16] for the B’s [Bruin’s] game,” said Jake, a college student in Boston. “It’s pretty cool that he stuck around for the parade.” The excitement wasn’t global, however. As one anonymous marcher mentioned, “He’s definitely backing things up a bit. People are going crazy for him.” Other appearances garnering interest from the public included Miss Boston 2019 winner, Molly Caron, and Boston-based band the Gypsy Moths. Near the end of the parade, a group of officials approached an Elvis Presley impersonator in his vintage Chevrolet and turned down his intent to join in the motorcade.

2018’s route was much shorter due to snow, as it has been before, but this year, the 40-degree weather did not pose any restrictions on the route. As a result of the longer route, crowding was much less significant, but nonetheless, many held that it felt packed. “It was really crowded, but everyone was happy. It didn’t make it less fun,” said Danielle, a parade goer.

Even though large numbers of BPD participated in the parade, Boston Police presence was still heavy across Southie throughout the day, and was accompanied by an increase in MBTA security and other emergency personnel. Altercations and issues were successfully kept to a minimum, which is confirmed by a tweet from Boston Police Department saying, “only 3 arrests made during today’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston with charges ranging from Disorderly Conduct to a Minor in Possession of Alcohol.”

With the minor upsets, the parade was a good time for the hundreds around the Boston area who gathered to celebrate Irish culture. The Saint Patrick’s Day parade proved once again that cold weather and large crowds can’t stop Boston from celebrating what we’re proud of.